Buddy Families Needed

MPA is starting the onboarding process for more than 100 new students enrolled so far for the fall of 2022 and we are seeking volunteers to be buddy families! The opportunity involves connecting with the family over the summer months, helping them integrate into the social fabric of the class, and being a resource as they transition into a new school. You and your child will be a very warm and welcome friendly face on their first days of school! If you are interested in this meaningful volunteer opportunity, please contact Angie Gerstner, development coordinator, at agerstner@moundsparkacademy.org.

Get Your Tickets To MPA’s Spring Auction

Spring AuctionFriday, April 22, 2022
A’bulae | 255 6th St E, St Paul, MN 55101

The 2022 MPA Spring Auction: Let’s Dream is your chance to build community with fellow parents and raise funds in support of students and teachers. After years of joining together virtually, we can’t wait to safely be together in person to celebrate our students and school! Enjoy delicious cuisine, a hosted bar, live music, games, and both live and silent auctions.

Purchase tickets & learn more here.

We also need your help to ensure our silent auction is another great success! Contact us here anytime to learn more about our auction needs. Click here to view the 2022 Wish List.

Join us to dream big and celebrate all that we have accomplished together!

Science, Art, And Character Intersect In The Makerspace

students beginning to design their facesIf you are familiar with MPA, then you are probably also familiar with the AnnMarie Thomas Makerspace. Electrifying in its concept and its form, this area of the school houses the intersection of creativity and innovation. The Makerspace is the physical manifestation of MPA’s long-standing belief that learning should be hands-on, experiential, and joyful.

Keith Braafladt, MPA’s technology and innovation teacher, has already found himself right at home in the Makerspace during his first year as a faculty member. As a new friendly face on campus, Keith has dedicated this year to developing strong relationships with MPA teachers to integrate and deliver the best Makerspace curriculum and experience to our students. Curriculum that exists in the Makerspace connects liberal arts thinking with 21st century skills and competencies, providing students with opportunities to construct meaning through making via practical, hands-on, interdisciplinary, and problem-based projects. Most often, the work is centered around the design thinking process, a systematic way to solve real-world problems that major corporations use in the workplace.

student laying out a faceOne of the most memorable projects to occur in the Makerspace this year is still adorning the outer windows of the room, prompting those who pass by to pause and share a smile that is reflecting back at them. The activity was informally and aptly named “making faces,” because that is precisely what Lower School students did. Essentially, they observed, looking for faces out in the world. And under Keith’s model, the idea was to use all of the donated, found, and collected materials at the students’ disposal in the Makerspace to create a face out of everyday objects themselves. Keith has friends at the Exploratorium in San Francisco that have been doing a similar activity that inspired this one. Read More

Great Schools Depend On Great Teachers & Staff

from Bill Hudson, Head of School

This is the second of a four-part series of Head’s Messages that dives deep into MPA’s new strategic plan, 2024ward. Today we will outline this priority: Affirm and inspire our exceptional and dedicated faculty and staff through competitive compensation. The first article may be found here. An overview of 2024ward may be found here.

“It’s like baking a lasagna and baking a cake at the same time in the same kitchen, but you can only use one bowl,” responded one teacher when asked in a national survey to describe what teaching has been like during the pandemic. Teachers have demonstrated and modeled incredible resiliency as they pivoted to remote learning, to hybrid learning, and back to in person learning (and back to remote, unfortunately) along with a number of health and safety measures layered upon what typically happens in a classroom. Together with those in the medical field, public health, and first responders, teachers have been real heroes over the last two years.

Nowhere was this more evident to me than observing master teacher Mari Espeland one day in the fall of 2020. Mari was teaching music to two first grade classrooms simultaneously, one via Zoom, without singing. I marveled at the ease in which she transitioned between three distinct learning activities within 30 minutes. However, as a teacher myself, I know that what appeared to be effortless required a great deal of planning, a deep knowledge of music education, a thorough understanding the developmental needs of young learners, and many years of experience. Despite the limitations brought on by the pandemic, the students in Mari’s class were engaged, joyful, and learning about rhythm. Read More

Exceeding What We Dared To Dream

dr. Hudson talking to prekby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

“There are four main ingredients contributing to the success of our school. First is the student body which is made up of a diverse group of individuals, each with their own strengths, talents, and enthusiasm. Second is a dedicated faculty that enjoys and really cares about students and individuals. Third is an administration that truly believes in establishing an atmosphere of support for the students, faculty, staff, and parents. Fourth is a board of trustees which is actively committed to overseeing the entire operation of this school.”

Does that sound like something you might have read in one of my recent Panther Post messages? Perhaps. Instead, they are the words of MPA co-founder Bob Kreischer in a document shared with the founding Board of Trustees of a school with no students, no teachers, no building, and no name on December 11, 1981. Yet there was a vision, what founding Lower School Director Joanne Olson described as “a dream and a shoestring with no assurance of success.” Read More

Get Your Middle School Production Tickets!

Middle School drama is in full swing and the links to purchase your tickets are up and active. Don’t miss your chance to catch the one acts: The Internet is Distract – Oh Look a Kitten AND Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Middle School, running from Friday, November 19, to Sunday, November 21. Click the link to learn more and to purchase livestream tickets!Join us in our return to live theatre in MPA’s Black Box, as we stage the two comedic one-acts for this year’s Middle School production! Learn more and purchase your tickets here

Gathering The Community Together

from Jennifer Rogers-Petitt, Director of Development and Community Engagement

I was fortunate enough to join the MPA community in 2018 as the director of development and community engagement. And to top it off, my two kids fell in love with the school right along with me and joined as new students at the same time. As with many things from the pre-pandemic world, it’s hard to imagine ever being able to predict how my role would change, let alone education and all of society due to COVID-19.

I’ve loved seeing the direct impact hard work has had on our students and community:

  • building our new Family Commons and the Martin Lenz Harrison Library thanks to the generosity of our donors;
  • hosting joyful events for grandparents, special friends, extended family members, and the local community;
  • building a foundation for the future through legacy giving;
  • providing parents the opportunity to volunteer and connect with one another;
  • engaging alumni and parents of alumni around the globe;
  • and ensuring our teachers and students have the supplies they need every year through the annual fund.

None of these accomplishments would be possible without our community joining together to make them happen. For this guest spot, I initially thought I would focus on the impact our community’s giving has had. But after being fortunate enough to witness the tremendous effort of this week’s Vaccination Clinic in our building, I couldn’t think of a more perfect representation of what it means to me to be a part of this community.

Read More

The Fall Campaign Is Underway!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Let’s Join Together Fall Campaign Kick-off last Friday! It was a wonderful time to connect, meet new friends, and celebrate the impact giving has on MPA.

Don’t forget, participation is what matters most. Our goal is to reach 70% participation for each grade. When your student’s grade reaches this level, they earn a fun “40 Minutes Free” party in honor of the school’s 40th Anniversary.

If you haven’t marked your calendars yet, don’t forget next Thursday is Give to the Max Day! Look in your email inbox soon for more details. Hint: it includes some of your favorite MPA teachers in the annual tradition of a lip sync battle!

For questions or more information, contact Jennifer Rogers-Petitt, director of development and community engagement, at jrogers@moundsparkacademy.org.

Learn more about the Fall Campaign >
Make a gift >

Follow-Up Vaccination Clinic: November 29

MPA will be hosting a follow-up on-campus vaccination clinic on Monday, November 29 from 4-8 PM. We will be offering first or second Pfizer vaccinations for anyone age five or older (including adults), first or second Moderna vaccinations, as well as Pfizer or Moderna booster shots for those who are eligible.

In addition to welcoming MPA community members, this clinic will be open to anyone and is being offered in partnership with Health Care Strong. Please help us spread the word by sharing this page with your network. You do not have to have attended the first clinic to attend this clinic.




  • Please download above, print, complete, and bring the consent form for all those who will be receiving vaccinations. This will help the process move along more quickly and efficiently.
  • Bring your vaccination card (if applicable).
  • All injections will be provided by a highly-trained medical professional and the 15-minute observation period will be staffed by medical professionals as well.
  • Please enter at door 2, the Atrium, which is to the left of the flag pole near the south entrance.
  • COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance.
  • Do not attend the clinic if anyone in your household has had COVID-19 within the past 14 days, has any symptoms of COVID-19, or is currently quarantining due to close contact exposure.


  • Any student or adult age five (on the day of the clinic) or older may be vaccinated at this event with their first or second vaccination.
  • Students to be vaccinated should wear short-sleeved shirts and be rested. They should have had something to eat prior to arriving.
  • Students younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must present a vaccination consent form (download above, print, complete, and bring).


  • Students 18 or older do not need parental consent to be vaccinated.
  • Click here to determine your eligibility for a booster.

We’re grateful to share that approximately 60% of our newly-eligible unvaccinated children received their first vaccination at the clinic on November 8. We strongly urge you to consider vaccinating your children so that they may remain healthy, safe, and happy on campus.

If you are unable to attend this clinic, please visit mn.gov/vaxforkids to learn more about other options and get information.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to covid@moundsparkacademy.org should you have any questions or need any additional information or resources.

Let’s Join Together

from Bill Hudson, Head of School

Helen Keller, one of the great American authors, activists, and advocates, said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” These are such simple, yet enlightened words, that illustrate the profound power of community collaboration. I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that schools should be epicenters of deep collaboration—among students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and other community members.

Just this week on campus, students, faculty, and staff came together to do so very much:

  • Upper School physics students worked in small lab groups using a bicycle wheel to understand rotational motion by feeling it between their hands.
  • STEM Ed Club students created curriculum for and hosted a Nature Event for their Lower School friends.
  • Student Council members organized a Nitro-Ball Tournament to benefit future projects in a fun and joyful way.
  • Volleyball players rallied the student body to show up for them at sections and show their support in a huge way.
  • AP Spanish students worked in discussion groups, debating topics such as regional/cultural/religious differences, after having only been in class for two days.
  • Middle School students lined the hallways in small groups, using marshmallows and spoons to investigate math and science in a three-dimensional, dynamic way.
  • Lower School faculty Mari Espeland and Heather Mastel collaborated on their annual second grade production of “The Tales of Anansi the Spider” for the sixth year in a row.
  • Staff designed and implemented a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic on campus in just 24 hours, benefitting the MPA community and beyond.
  • Faculty and staff brought concerts back to MPA with both a successful livestream and an in-person way to engage with the Instrumental Concert.
  • Eighth grade faculty collaborated on the Future City project, providing an interdisciplinary approach for students designing a waste-free city 100 years in the future utilizing a circular economy.

I could go on and on, but none of the above would be possible without collaboration, connectedness, and community.

Now, its our turn to come together—literally and figuratively—to show our support of MPA and the experiences created here each day. This year’s Fall Campaign, “Let’s Join Together,” launches November 8 and lasts until November 19, culminating with our Give to the Max Day of Giving on November 18. A very special, in-person kick off, will be held outdoors on Friday, November 5, from 2-4 PM. Come to campus, come together, and celebrate the start of this very special time at MPA.

This year’s Fall Campaign is particularly meaningful because it coincides with the 40th anniversary celebration of the founding of our school. Our goal this year is to raise $350,000 to support students, teachers, and to bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of an MPA education—tuition only covers approximately 80 percent of MPA’s expenses. Your gift will ensure students, faculty, and staff have the tools, resources, and support they need to come together today and tomorrow to do so much.

I want every family, especially our new families, to know that giving at MPA takes on many forms. Every gift is valued and participation at any level is deeply appreciated. Sentiment matters more than size and we encourage every family to give at the level that is right for them.

Joining together at MPA may look a little bit different for a little bit longer, but whether we’re together in spirit or in person, we can accomplish so much. You can learn more about the Fall Campaign and what the MPA Fund supports by visiting moundsparkacademy.org/support-mpa.